Coming to Meridian Museum of Art Museum celebrates Black History Month with exhibit by artist Nick Westbrook

Submitted photos

Untitled work by Nick Westbrook

What inspires someone to become an artist? Creativity … Passion.

Nick Westbrook has both.

“I first noticed Nick’s work several years ago at the Deli on 5th Street (in downtown Meridian),” Meridian Museum of Art Executive Director Kate Cherry said. “Since then, I’ve watched him produce wonderful drawings and paintings that exhibit his creativity and passion for his craft.”

In February, Westbrook’s artistry will be showcased at Meridian Museum of Art in an exhibition celebrating African-American artists in observance of Black History Month. A reception to meet the artist and view his works will be held at the downtown Meridian gallery on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 6-8 p.m.

Born in Jackson, Westbrook was reared in Meridian by his grandparents. He attended St. Patrick Catholic School, Meridian middle and high schools, Meridian Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Animation was Westbrook’s first beloved art form.

“I wanted to become an animator for Disney growing up because I loved watching their animated films — and still do,” the artist said. “I fell out of that when I found out the process of animation. I hate drawing things over and over, so that wouldn't fly with me.”

Westbrook said his early expressions in art were often created while in the company of his grandfather.

“I used to draw sitting next to my grandfather, who was an architect,” he said.

Coming to Meridian Museum of Art Museum celebrates Black History Month with exhibit by artist Nick Westbrook

Untitled work by Nick Westbrook

As he has honed his craft, Westbrook has developed a simplistic approach to his creativity.

“My statement and vision for my art is pretty simple. I want to be able to make a person's day better when they see a pic that's been done for them,” he said. “And the direction for my art is that I would hope to be able to make a living doing with the gift God blessed me with.”

Cherry has been a longtime observer and supporter of Westbrook’s work and says more people need to experience his art.

“I’ve seen artists who need a special notice and I believe Nick needs to be noticed,” she said, noting that Westbrook has entered several MMA competitions. “He’s very talented and I want people to see his drawings and paintings.”

The exhibition will run throughout February at Meridian Museum of Art. Sponsors are the city of Meridian, the Phil Hardin Foundation, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Riley Foundation, Meridian Airport Authority, and the Community Foundation of East Mississippi, the National Endowment of the Arts, and The Paul and Sherry Broadhead Foundation.

Meridian Museum of Art is located at 628 25th Ave. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; admission is free. For more information, contact Kate Cherry at 601-693-1501, meridianmuseum@bellsouth.net or visit the museum’s website www.meridianmuseum.org

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